Last week, one of my Facebook friends posted the following question: “I go out 2 – 4 times a week and run. When do you get over the fear at the beginning that it’s too hard and I won’t be able to finish?”
I wanted to comment, but I really felt like I had too much to say on the topic to just write a sentence or two response. So instead, I decided to make it into a whole blog 🙂
My first thought was this: What are your expectations for the run? What do you mean by “I won’t be able to finish?” Do you mean that you will quit sooner than you wanted and go a shorter distance? Or, that you will walk more often than you had hoped? Surely you WILL get back to where you started, but will you be satisfied with your effort?
I think these questions definitely deserve some attention. Often, people set their expectations very high and then beat themselves up when they “fail” to achieve a certain level. When I first started running I thought that I wasn’t a real runner if I had to take walk breaks. What a bunch of garbage that thinking was! If you need to walk…then walk! If it feels too hard, catch your breath, remind yourself that you’re in control, and start jogging again when you can.
Other people that I spoke to on this topic believed that it’s all about learning how to tell all of the negative voices in your head to shut up. You know, that voice that says, “Come on, this is too hard. I know you wanted to run 3 miles, but really, 2 is enough. You’re tired. You had a hard day…” and so on. When those voices start to creep into your thoughts, you need to have a plan of attack. Some people use mantras, and repeat a phrase over and over. Others use self talk and are able to think about why they are running, and how good it feels to finish what you set out to do. The more practice that you have at controlling those negative thoughts, the easier it becomes. And then, before you know it, they won’t even bother coming around anymore! (Or at least not too often…)
In the end, if you lace up your shoes and take the first step out the door, you have already won the hardest part of the battle. The rest is just putting one foot in front of the other. It’s not easy, but that’s what makes it great!!
Sparkle. Pounce. Finish.